In the pitch-black water, 759 meters below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a thin, wavy arm emerges from the darkness.
Suddenly he splits, and what was a lonely, strange attachment is a writhing bouquet of tentacles, until finally out of the darkness a god-awed giant squid blossoms and attacks.
Then the animal disappears as suddenly as it has surfaced.
For the first time a living giant squid had been filmed in US waters. The video was captured by a team of researchers on an expedition funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the effects of light deprivation on deep-sea animals living 3280 feet below surface in the midnight zone.
To bring this historic image to life, the 23-member crew had to use a special probe, lucky enough to lure the elusive squid into a camera and find it between hours of video footage. Then the downloaded video had to withstand a sudden lightning strike on the metalworking ship threatening the scientists' computers. Above all else, a gargoyle suddenly formed on the port side.
Edith Aries, one of the leaders of the expedition, described the ordeal as "one of the more amazing days at sea I've ever had".
Widder, Founder of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, reported Sunday from the pier, where the research vessel Point Sur docked at sea just two weeks later, about the dramatic events surrounding the discovery of Arsenal's special camera system, the Medusa Red light, which is undetectable to deep-sea animals, allows scientists to discover species and observe elusive species. The probe was equipped with a fake jellyfish that mimics the bioluminescent defense mechanism of the invertebrates, which can signal to larger predators that there is a meal nearby to lure the squid and other animals into the camera at the end of the two-week expedition, 1
When a storm raged across the Gulf last Wednesday, Aries waited in the chaos of the ship for Medusa videos to be processed when her colleague Nathan J. Robinson, director of the Cape Eleuthera Institute, came in.
"His eyes almost jumped out of his head," said Aries. "He did not even say anything, and I knew right away that he saw something amazing on the video.
" We all screamed and other people ran to the lab and we try not to get upset. In science you have to be careful not to fool yourself, "she said. But it was hard not to be happy with what they saw in the video. It certainly looked like a giant squid, but the storm made it difficult to reach a land expert who could correctly identify the creature.
Since things were not dramatic enough, the ship was struck by lightning.
Aries heard a loud roar and ran outside to see a yellow and brown cloud of smoke. There were debris scattered across the deck. She and her colleagues immediately feared for the computers with the valuable footage.
"We stormed into the lab to make sure the most amazing video we've ever seen was okay, which it was," Widder recalled. A few hours later, she said, her captain told them there was a jet of water nearby, a weatherform similar to a tornado.
But in the end everything was fine. Michael Vecchione, zoologist at the National Systematics Laboratory of the NOAA, was able to confirm from a distance that they had actually taken pictures of the elusive giant squid. The researchers estimated the length to be at least 3 to 3.7 meters.
Even without lightning strikes and open-air tornadoes, filming a giant squid in its natural habitat is extremely difficult . In fact, so difficult that no one had made it to 2012, when Aries and her and their colleagues on a mission off the coast of Japan used the Medusa to record the first videos of Giant Squid in their homeland on the high seas.
] In 2004, Japanese scientists were able to take the first pictures of a giant squid and collect a portion of tentacles from a living animal. In the past, much of what scientists knew about giant squids came from dead specimens that had been washed ashore or salvaged from the typhoons' bellies, the Smithsonian Magazine reported.
brought the giant squid a legendary status among marine life.
"It has eight winding arms and two cut tentacles," said Aries. "It has the biggest eye of any animal we know, it has a beak that can rip flesh, it has a jet propulsion system that can go back and forth, blue blood and three hearts, it's an amazing, amazing one Life form that we know almost nothing about. "
Cuttlefish served as the basis for the legendary Kraken, and his reputation as a monster was bolstered by appearances in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, as well as Herman Melville's Moby Dick "which perhaps contains the best description of its place in the public imagination:
" We have now considered the most marvelous phenomenon that the secret seas of humanity have so far revealed. "A huge fleshy mass of cream-colored length and breadth floated up the water, countless long arms radiating from the center and curled and turned like a nest of Anacondas, as if blind to an unfortunate n place would catch object within reach. It had no noticeable face and no noticeable front. no conceivable sign of sensation or instinct; but there surging on the waves, an unearthly, formless, random appearance of life.
[…] Whatever the sperm whales in general have to do with the sight of this object, it is certain that looking at it is so unusual, that circumstance has gone far to invest it with lawlessness. It is so rare to find that each of them declares it to be the greatest living thing in the ocean, but very few of them have only the vague idea of its true nature and form.
During Modernity Thanks to technology, scientists have been able to see the giant squid better than the doomed Pequod souls. Given the mythical ancestry of the creature, the dramatic circumstances of this new discovery feel appropriate.
Aries and her colleagues, including Robinson and Sönke Johnsen The biology professor at Duke University hopes that discoveries like these will continue to stimulate public imagination and encourage marine research support.
"What used to be feared are now curious and great creatures that are happy," said Johnsen and Aries on the NOAA expedition blog. "We want to feel that science and exploration have brought about this change, making the world less frightening and wondrous with every new thing we learn."
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